Protopresbyter Seraphim Johnson (born Herbert Joseph Johnson, III), son of the late Herbert Joseph Johnson, Jr., and Dorothy Erford Johnson, was born in Miami, Fla., on June 14, 1944. Raised in Erie, Pa., he graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1962. In 1966 he received simultaneously his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Linguistics from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He was a member of the Rhode Island Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, he moved on to further graduate work at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. He worked for the Department of Defense at Fort Meade, Md., for over 39 years. In 1970 he was baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith and took the baptismal name Seraphim. Having been ordained a sub-deacon in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1971, in 1975 he was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Nikon of New York and Washington. Six years later, in 1981, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Gregory of Manhattan and became the founding rector of St. Cosmas Orthodox Church in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Some years later he was elevated to the rank of archpriest by Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston and again by Metropolitan Ephraim to the rank of protopresbyter in September 2009. He continued to serve as rector of St. Cosmas Church until his death on December 11, 2009. He is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Anastasia (Linda) Johnson; daughter Barbara Johnson, of Beverly Hills, Calif.; son, Stephen W. Johnson, his wife, June, and their daughter, Hope, of Linthicum Heights, Md.; and daughter Mother Stephania, of Holy Nativity Convent in Boston, Mass. He is also survived by his mother, Dorothy E. Johnson, of Erie, Pa., and a brother, Ronald E. Johnson, of Carlisle, Pa. Funeral services were held on Monday, December 14, at 10 a.m., followed by burial at Cathedral Gardens Cemetery in Elkridge, Md.
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Published in the Erie Times-News on Dec. 18, 2009